No Country for Old Men Critical Essay
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No Country for Old Men Critical Analysis
“Somewhere out there is a true and living prophet of destruction and I don’t want to confront him.” (McCarthy 2).
No Country for Old Men by the world best seller Cormack McCarthy portrays various themes but the most prominent one revolves around the issue of westernization with outlaws and lawmen with the change of time. Anton, the psychopathic hit man is focused on tracking down Moss so as to recover the million dollars that was recovered in the drug scene that went out of hand (McCarthy 34). Anton has gone against all odds and taken the law in his hand.
The writer indicates that no matter how hard someone fight to defend the right of the citizen, time is changing and nothing can be done to alter the situation. Bell as a committed sheriff has opposed and stood strong against any form of outlaw that might found its way in Terrell County with the vast state of Texas. However, his action depends on the situation and is a matter of time as portrayed in the theme. This came to reality after he met Anton Chigurh; the unstoppable ruthless killer of a man who has claimed that “…the world was going to hell in a hand-basket…” (McCarthy 116). The film No Country for Old Men portrays a scenario where in most societies there is that one evil person, who unfortunately cannot be stopped by the ordinary individual but rather someone who harbors passion and determination in their own work.
Nobody seems to gauge the abnormality that Bell was undergoing in his duty to protect his territory against any form of harm. To them, Bell seems as the same lawman who will fight and protect the law until the end of the time. This is no wonder the writer came up with the title No Country for Old Men. No one could tell the changes that Sheriff Bell was undergoing; the changes of self defeat, uselessness and turning out to be quitter. Just like someone who is possessed with devil spirit, Anton Chigurh eliminates people who have crossed his path using high powerful gun in cold blood. He also behaved like someone who Sherriff Bell has never encountered in his life as normal lawman of Terrell County. Sheriff Bell stayed strong in the public eye but internally he was feeling weak and tormented with the unstoppable action of the hit man Anto Chigurh.
He was seriously convinced that indeed time had changed and nothing he could have done to counter act the action of the deadly killer. Indeed, this facilitated his earlier retirement. As can be confirmed in Sheriff Bell’s speeches, McCarthy has successfully utilized characterization to show that as time passes, changes also continue to occur. Sherriff Bell stance against lawlessness seems to diminish at a faster rate and the feeling of defenselessness has increased. The earlier chapter of the book depicts Sheriff Bell as a nonsense man that would do anything to protect his people as supported by the quote “…always knew that you had to be willin to die to even do this job…” (McCarthy 2). Even though Sherriff Bell was authoritative, he had to stand the test of time. In the line of duty or in his life as a loyal Sheriff, he has to learn that there are people who are unstoppable. This is supported by the claim that “…bad people can’t be governed at all. Or if they could I never heard of it or if they could I never heard of it” (McCarthy 33). Sheriff Bell felt that he had reached point in life time that he could not move on whereby his confident was diminishing and could not express the authority he had before. McCarthy compares Sheriff Bell to a god who could not protect his backyard.
Towards the end of the book, Sherriff Bell is seen to have some form of dissatisfaction from the situation as McCarthy has successful managed to use various symbolism to express the same. Sheriff Belli is faced with various dreams to support the feeling of discomfort in his entire life. The first dream was about receiving a valuable object that his father left him behind, which he then lost. The dream can be said to represent the fact in contrary to the common belief that money can save every situation and bring comfort to people’s life. This is not true as depicted in Moss life whereby after getting the huge amount of money, he could not settle down and spend it with ease. Instead, he has to run for his dear life since Anton the killer was after him. Truth is that money comes along with great hostility in one life.
The second dream was about him and his father riding on separate horses towards the mountain path. In the dream, his father was in darkness and as always ahead and was struggling hard to be in phase with his father. Bell has lamp in his hand, which McCarthy say can be used to represent sense of hope in the midst of the chaos in the society. Bell’s life and that of the individuals, who crosses path with Anton Chigurh was in total chaos. This can also represent the inevitability of time since at the end of the long journey; Bell would have to be comforted by his father. Even though Sherriff Bell seems strong at the outer world, his inner world was weak and discomforting (Lynch 8). This was the entire reason for the writer to come up with the title No Country for Old Men. It can also depict Sherriff Bell as being too old that he has no place in controlling the entire Country. He could not even manage to stop Anto Chigurh.
No story can go without some form of irony within it. Sheriffs are mandated to curb any form of lawlessness in the society but Sheriff Bell is defeated in his line of duty, which is quite ironical (Lynch 12). Anton Chigurh has the notion that when one crosses another one path, then his life is over and this was evident in their face to face encounter. Irony is also depicted in the character of Chigurh Anton. In the book, the action of Anton is as a result of fate and every of his killings were guided by fate. This was not the case since Anton was in control of every situation he was involved.
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